Greenwich Council cuts: Plumstead loses its festival

Sadly, the Plumstead Make Merry Festival has succumbed to the cuts – at least for this year.

It is with great disappointment and regret that the organising committee for the Plumstead Make Merry have to announce that there will not be a Make Merry on Plumstead Common this year. Due to central government cuts in local authority funding, Greenwich Council have been forced to cut the funding on which the Make Merry has depended on for its infrastructure. The committee is made up of local people who all volunteer their time and efforts for free, we do not make a profit, and proceeds from our tea tent and stalls are spent on staging, marquees, sound equipment and on providing free activities for children.

The Plumstead Make Merry has been held on Plumstead Common every year for the last 32 years. It is the most eagerly awaited local event, and the longest running event in the borough. Last year, over 6,000 people visited the festival. We, the Plumstead Make Merry Committee are devastated that there will not be a festival this year, and we know that we are not alone in this feeling.

A benefit bash for 2012’s festival will held on 16 April at the Greenwich Rugby Club pavillion on Old Mill Road, Plumstead – more details on the Make Merry site.

It’s worth recalling that Greenwich’s grant to PMM was just £2,000. I do wonder if the Plumstead Make Merry is being punished for being a small and relatively low-profile event compared with some of the other things the council is pushing at the moment.

15 comments

  1. John Fahy

    Yes,it’s me again. It is wrong to say that the Counvcil was not supporting the Make Merry this year. A grant of £1,000 was available from the Parkfest Grant. It is misguided to suggest that the Council is ignoring community events. Despite the budget pressures which are significant we continue to support the Parkfest Summer programme. a sum of £30,000 has been allocated to Friends of Greenwich Park. Help in other areas to improve income was offered but not taken up. The door remains open to the Make Merry organisers who have worked tirelessly to make this event happen

  2. Indigo

    Why on earth is the Council giving a stonking £30,000 to the Friends of Greenwich Park when the Park is going to be closed to the public for so much of this summer and next summer, if LOCOG get their way? Look at the maps accompanying LOCOG’s latest planning application – there will be no footie near the NMM and St Mary’s Gate this summer.

  3. John Fahy

    Sorry,my error. Not Greenwich Park but Friends of Greenwich Parks representing all parks across the Borough. See programme details for this yea shortly.

  4. Indigo

    Cllr Fahy, “Not Greenwich Park but Friends of Greenwich Parks representing all parks across the Borough.”

    Clarification just in time. Overnight, my interest – in what you had said at 14 March 2011 7.25pm – intensified.

  5. Holly

    As a member of the organising committee, I do not recall of such an offer being made.

    It is strange that we would ‘decline’ £1000, as this would have helped us massively.

  6. Mary

    John – congratulations on tangling with the bloggers -but can I just ask you to clarify one thing, which might help Indigo. By ‘Friends of Greenwich Parks’ I think you mean parklands which the Borough owns and which have Friends groups involved in the Parks Forum??? Thus Greenwich Park is excluded – as are other parks, here in Peninsula Ward – South Park, Central Park and Memorial Park.

  7. John Fahy

    Hopefully providing a constructive view as events unfold. Parkfest is in its third year and will have events across the Council Parks in the Summer.

  8. Steve

    Well I’m glad that at least Parkfest is still going to be repeated – we went to most of last year’s events.

  9. Sarah Harper

    As the named committee member in the News Shopper article regarding the cancellation of this years festival, I would just like to say that the details of the article were agreed by all of the organising committee members, and the information was correct at the time of interview by the journalist. The article was not meant as an attack on the council as funding cuts are widespread across the borough, it was merely stating that as a result of the cuts we would be unable to continue for this year with a full festival. The festival has grown in success and popularity over the past few years, and we have made sure that we have provided free entertainment and activities for children at the event, some of which has cost implications for the committee. To provide free entertainment and activities is vitally important given the socio-economic demographic of the community. There are numerous costs that we have to meet in order to meet the licensing requirements, as well as other infrastructure costs such as marquees and sound equipment. As such the funding that the council have provided us in previous years has played a vital role in ensuring that the festival goes ahead. It is organised by a volunteer committee of local people, and no profit is made from it. We hope that we can work with the council to ensure that a Plumstead Make Merry goes ahead, but we are now working to a very tight timescale for organising it.

  10. John Fahy

    Well done Sarah,we are all proud of the dedication and commitment of the volunteers that work tirelessly to make things happen on the Common. Count me in to help.

  11. Pingback: Greenwich Council ‘offered to pay Bryan Ferry for O2 show’ « 853

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